Campaign to Protect Rural England - Somerset

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A358 Plans - Flawed, Damaging and Will Not Benefit Somerset

9th May 2017

Countryside Campaigners call upon local people to use extended consultation period to speak up against new road

CPRE Somerset is joining local communities in speaking out against the planned new road (A358) from Southfields to the M5 and is urging Somerset residents to make the most of this extra time to respond to the Highways England consultation.  Last week, Highways England announced that it was pausing the public consultation on this scheme in keeping with pre-election guidance.  CPRE feels that this consultation is fundamentally flawed. We are presented with only one option - an option that will cause severe and irreparable damage to unspoilt countryside and fails to provide benefit to local communities and business.  Better options are needed that cause less environmental damage and give more benefit to local communities.

Chair of CPRE Somerset branch, Chris Lewis said: "The route will pass very close to several areas of ancient woodland. It will also slice up good quality farmland, a valuable and irreplaceable asset. The fact that the new M5 junction will be “closed” to local traffic illustrates how this new road is designed to sweep traffic through Somerset and onwards to the South West as quickly as possible. CPRE fears that Somerset will bear the brunt of damage to its countryside and to the quality of life of rural communities with very little, if any, wider benefit for Somerset residents.

We repeatedly see the cycle of more roads generating more traffic and congestion which leads to demands for more roads. CPRE’s recent report “The end of the road?” calls for a radical rethink of the Government’s roads policy and reveals that road-building is failing to provide the congestion relief and economic boost promised, while devastating the environment  CPRE believes that building ever bigger roads should be the option of absolute last resort. Any money that is available should be spent on repairing potholes, public transport, and harnessing new technology to make more efficient use of existing road space. 

Whoever is in power after the general election must invest in a forward looking mobility strategy that puts quality of life ahead of the car. Building ever bigger roads should be the last resort – not the default choice".

CPRE will be submitting a detailed comment to Highways England and urges local people to have their say by proposing better options that benefit local communities without destroying our countryside -



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Somerset patchwork landscape